A national leader in fertility research, SGF’s full-time research team presents the highest number of abstracts to date at ASRM, with 9 oral presentations.
Baltimore, MD – Shady Grove Fertility’s (SGF) physician-scientists presented 26 research abstracts during the 2021 American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Scientific Congress & Expo as part of the practice’s commitment to advancing knowledge and improving assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment outcomes. This year’s research by SGF presented at ASRM covered many important topics for fertility care including genetic testing, weight and fertility, and fertility preservation/cryopreservation.
Hosted in-person in Baltimore and available on-demand this year, the 77th ASRM Scientific Congress and Expo took place October 17-20, 2021 and attracted more than 8,000 national and international physicians and professionals — distinguished academicians, clinicians, and scientific investigators in the field of human reproduction. To reflect and encompass the broad scope of reproductive medicine, this year’s theme is “Reproduction Reimagined.”
SGF: committed to research
As SGF celebrates 30 years of continuous innovation for fertility care, the physicians at SGF continue to make a sustained commitment to clinical research and educating physicians in training. Many of the studies presented at the meeting this year resulted from collaborations between SGF and academic institutions. SGF physicians act as clinical instructors and research mentors to physicians in training from NIH, Georgetown University, Eastern Virginia Medical School, University of South Florida, and University of Colorado.
SGF is one of only a few private practice fertility centers in the country to employ a full-time dedicated research team, which operates under Director of Research, Kate Devine, M.D., a board certified reproductive endocrinologist who sees patients at SGF’s Washington, D.C., K Street location. Dr. Devine serves as faculty to fellows at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) training to become reproductive endocrinologists and to residents at Georgetown School of Medicine training to be obstetrician/gynecologists. The research performed with NIH accounts for 10 of the abstracts presented by SGF at ASRM.
“The ASRM Scientific Congress and Expo is one of the largest platforms where, year after year, we combine brainpower with fellow professionals to advance modern medicine,” says Dr. Devine. “Our dedication to research aims to better help our patients. Our high-quality research enables us to provide the best possible information and treatment outcomes to those struggling with infertility.”
In addition to Dr. Devine, SGF further expanded its research capabilities with Anthony Imudia, M.D., Associate Professor of OB/GYN and REI Fellowship Program Director at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. Dr. Imudia joined SGF in 2019 and sees patients in the Wesley Chapel and Tampa – Westshore locations. Research performed at USF accounts for five of the total abstracts presented by SGF this year.
In June 2021, SGF proudly opened SGF Colorado, which consists of two convenient office locations in Denver and Colorado Springs, in addition to leading the University of Colorado’s Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) where SGF physician Alex Polotsky, M.D., serves as a professor and REI Fellowship Director. Research performed at the University of Colorado accounts for six of the total abstracts presented by SGF this year. Additionally, SGF Colorado Lab Director, Liesl Nel-Themaat, Ph.D., HCLD, was sworn in at the conference as president of the Society of Reproductive Biologists & Technologists (SRBT), the group that helps oversee SGF’s lab ART activities on behalf of the ASRM.
SGF receives awards for research breakthroughs at ASRM
SGF’s study of endometrial receptivity analysis co-authored by SGF team members Nicole P. Doyle, M.D. Ph.D.; Samad Jahandideh, Ph.D.; Michael J. Levy, M.D.; Eric A. Widra, M.D.; and Kate Devine, M.D.; in addition to Micah J. Hill, D.O., has been selected as the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Prize Paper. The research concludes that an ERA does not improve chances of achieving an ongoing pregnancy from a frozen blastocyst transfer and calls for further research on the benefits of ERA for recurrent implantation failure.
Additionally, SGF’s study on genetic testing in the infertility population for those at increased risk, co-authored by Samad Jahandideh, Ph.D.; Kate Devine, M.D.; and Jeanne O’Brien, M.D. M.Sc., was awarded the ASRM 2021 Corporate Member Council In-Training Award. The research concludes that an overwhelming majority of eligible fertility patients are declining cancer genetic testing despite receiving focused genetic counseling regarding the recommendation to pursue testing as well as the opportunity to potentially minimize the cancer risk of future offspring. Better understanding of the factors leading to this reluctance could assist in designing future care models for patients.
ASRM also awarded the SRS In-training award, which recognizes outstanding research conducted by individuals in-training, to Steven Gay, M.D, for his research with Ashley Ulker, M.D.; Samad Jahandideh, Ph.D.; Micah Hill, D.O.; Kate Devine, M.D.; Eric A. Widra, M.D.; and Alan DeCherney, M.D. Their study is the first of its size to demonstrate that a short interval to fresh or frozen embryo transfer following polypectomy does not negatively impact pregnancy outcomes and is therefore an acceptable option to offer patients.
SGF ASRM participation
In addition to oral and poster presentations, several SGF physicians and nurses hosted symposiums, interactive sessions, roundtable discussions, and post-graduate courses including:
- Dr. Devine and Dr. Widra discuss their randomized clinical trial on vaginal-only progesterone at Fertility and Sterility special Journal Club Global live. Their study concludes vaginal progesterone supplemented with intramuscular progesterone every third day offers higher live-birth rates than vaginal only progesterone, which will benefit patients through higher live birth rates and by offering an effective alternative regimen with fewer injections.
- ‘Knowledge Is Power: Educating the Modern Day REI,’ chaired by Jennifer M. Wood, R.N., B.S.N.
- ‘Integrating the Reproductive Urologist within the Modern ART Practice,’ chaired by Cigdem (Cori) Tanrikut, M.D.
- ‘Polygenic Risk Scores and Embryo Selection: Can We, Should We?’ co-hosted by Dr. O’Brien
- ‘Evidence-Based Endometrial Preparation for Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET),’ hosted by Dr. Devine
- ‘Let’s Talk Legal,’ co-hosted by SGF Scientific Director Michael J. Tucker, Ph.D.
- ‘Optimizing Fresh and Frozen Embryo Transfer: Newest Evidence on CME Measuring, Timing, and Replacing Progesterone,’ chaired by Dr. Devine
- ‘Comprehensive Review of Genetic Carrier Screening: Genetic CME Counseling, Legal, and Physician Perspectives,’ co-taught by Dr. O’Brien
SGF presents findings on genetic testing’s role in assisted reproductive medicine
- For PGT-A testing, which tests embryo chromosome number, an SGF research team found the miscarriage rate was significantly reduced after transfer of a PGT-A tested embryo across all age groups.
- Another study on PGT-A testing observed patients with diminished ovarian reserve who are undergoing IVF and found the transfer of a euploid embryo leads to improved pregnancy outcomes.
- Two studies on PGT-M testing, which looks for specific genetic diseases, found a reluctance in patients at increased risk to proceed with testing.
- Another PGT-M study suggests that this tool will become more important as rates of medically actionable results increase.
Several ASRM abstracts focus on the impact of weight on fertility success
Two abstracts focused on weight and fertility care addressed BMI in relation to IVF medication and monitoring. While some medications may require dose adjustments in obese patients, a study examining the impact of obesity in frozen embryo transfer cycles concluded that the duration of oral estradiol treatment does not appear to be related to BMI.
SGF explores fertility preservation/cryopreservation, particularly its rise in popularity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
Two abstracts focused on fertility preservation and/or cryopreservation, observing the impact of ethnicity in IVF cycles and analyzing trends in elective egg freezing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was growth in egg-freezing cycles, which could represent pandemic-related reevaluation of life goals, changes in financial status, and/or alterations in workplace flexibility. Following SGF’s extensive research presented at last year’s ASRM on understanding racial disparities in fertility treatment outcomes and access to care, another study found that live birth outcomes per transfer were not different among Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White women in IVF cycles.
Other studies include important research that provides insight into IUI cycles, ICSI in donor recipient cycles, and outcomes for frozen embryos.
To learn more about ongoing research being conducted at SGF, visit http://www.shadygrovefertility.com/research.
About Shady Grove Fertility (SGF)
SGF is a leading fertility and IVF center of excellence with more than 100,000 babies born from 30+ years of continuous innovation and patient-centered fertility care. With 46 locations, including new locations in Texas, as well as throughout CO, FL, GA, MD, NY, PA, TX, VA, D.C., and Santiago, Chile, SGF offers patients in-person and virtual physician consults, delivers individualized care, accepts most insurance plans, and makes treatment affordable through innovative financial options, including 100% refund guarantees. SGF is among the founding partner practices of US Fertility, the largest physician-led partnership of top-tier fertility practices in the U.S. Call 1-888-761-1967 to schedule a new patient appointment or visit ShadyGroveFertility.com for more information.